It happened. I met the author that has pretty much consumed my thoughts for the last month. When I read “Running with Scissors” It was like being hit by tidal wave of “this is what true writing is” and I knew that this was the book that all other books would be judged by. This was my new standard and it was damn high. I immediately went to Amazon to buy the rest of his books and during the excruciating process of waiting for them to arrive, I Googled. I read interviews, reviews, everything I could find about this man whose life has just been one horrific event after another and has still managed to be a hugely successful writer. During this mass research period, I discovered that he was coming to Chicago. HE. WAS. COMING. TO. CHICAGO! So naturally I dialed the number and reserved my place in line- number 29 (possibly my new favorite number).
As the day approached, I became very aware of my heart. There was this strange nervous excitement pulsing through me and I was somewhat concerned about my intensely elevated heart rate. But I pushed that aside and practically ran out the office door at 4 so I could make my trek to Naperville, IL.
Once I picked up my new book and took my seat at the very front of the auditorium my body completely abandoned me. I couldn’t decide if I was going to throw up or pass out. I’ve truly never felt that giddy in my life. I might as well have been a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I was all a nerves and heart thumping so fast that I might have to be removed on a stretcher when he entered the room and WALKED RIGHT BY ME. I immediately picked up my phone to text everyone I knew. He was so close to me!! At this point I completely lost all respect for myself due to acting like the aforementioned Bieber fan, but I did not care.
He came onstage, did a short reading from his new book and then a question and answer session. And while he did not invite me to dinner and talk to me all night about how he wanted to be my mentor for my first novel, like I had been fantasizing about for the past three weeks, he was amazing. He was everything I expected- honest, straightforward and witty. The thing that really blew me away was his sincerity. During the signing, he made eye contact with every person, genuinely thanked them for coming, and said he hoped they’ll like the new book. He even posed for pictures if they wanted.
It was incredible. I know I’m gushing like a complete lunatic (you should have seen me last night when I actually spoke to him) and I think it’s important to mention that I’ve never acted like this about anyone. I’ve never had the desire for autographs and the only ones that I’ve ever gotten were chip and dale’s at Disney World when I was seven. I simply do not ooze over celebrities. But this writing has been the most motivating and inspiring I’ve ever encountered. Reading his books makes me want to write my own. Of course, I don’t have the unbelievable life experience he did, so I would have to rely on my imagination to create such moving stories. When it was my turn to approach him I did try to get this sentiment across. Though I fear I was more of a stuttering bright red tomato that told him I’d become obsessed with him in the last month. But, being kind and therefore solidifying my undying love for him, he looked up from signing my book and said, “thank you.” He then posed for a picture, thanked me for coming and moved on to the lucky fan behind me.
All in all, well worth the 8 ½ hours it took (though next time, I would very much appreciate it if he’d come to Chicago).